[Blaugust Day 14][FFXIV] Who is pkudude99?
I put FFXIV in the title becuz, well… okay, I played it this morning. Did my daily roulette and hunts. This got me enough seals to do the last upgrade for the healer set jewelry and my daughter picked out that she liked the blue striped 1-piece swimsuit for the healer set’s glamour, so… there’s that update. And in a good surprise, putting that top with the white shorts covers up that weird seam that I didn’t like in it, so… that works. But now I have to pad this out to 10 sentences to meet the Blaugust requirements so……
Who am I? No one of consequence. And with that Princess Bride reference out of the way… I’ve been a “computer geek” for about as long as I can remember. I hit 1st grade just as Apple was really taking off with their Apple 2+ line of pc’s and schools were buying 1 for every classroom. At least they were in Illinois School District 15 in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago, anyway. And while in school they’d of course try to use them “only” for educational purposes and thus they wouldn’t even get turned on for weeks at a time, I always had a fondness for that thing in the corner and the magical world of Oregon Trail where I didn’t know it but I was learning about scarcity of resources, dealing with unexpected events, that some things just take time and if you try to rush it it all blows up, but I thought I was just playing a game. Still and all, that was the beginning of my love affair with computer gaming.
Over the next several years my mom bought me those code books where they’d tell you the code and you’d laboriously type it in for 2 hours so that it would do a 5 second graphics loop, though eventually you could type in simple games, except they weren’t any fun to play since you learned how to beat it before you even played it since you typed in the code and they lasted at most 20 minutes either. But that at least got me a little used to the idea of coding and how much work goes in to so little output, so I can laugh at the current forum warriors who proclaim that “this 5 minutes of coding would fix all your bugs!” since if that were true it would have already been done. Anyway, as I got into my teen years I started seeing the computer as more of a gaming machine than a tool for increasing productivity, and while I’d write my own autoexec.bat and config.sys files for the boot floppies that I had to use to make certain games work, I felt like coding was a ton of effort for only a small reward, so other than for games, I really lost interest in them and planned to go into aerospace engineering. I have crappy eyesight so I can’t be a pilot (at least until my LASIK about 6 years ago), but I reallllllllly wanted to be one. Love the idea of flying. So I figured if I couldn’t fly the planes then at least I could build them.
Life happened, though, and so I was married with a kid at the age of 24 and working full time in the day for a cellular phone company in their customer service call center and taking some night classes, and things were tough. My parents had moved to Utah by then and then divorced, and my mother offered that we could move there and live with her while I went to school to at least save on rent and utility costs. I didn’t want to leave Illinois, but my dad actually convinced me that it was a good idea, so move we did. The plan was to work for a year and save up a bit while establishing residency and then go to the U of Utah since they’ve got a good engineering track. But life happened again and my wife at the time thought that since I liked computer games so much that I liked computers themselves a lot also, and convinced me to go into one of those “accelerated night class” programs for computer science.
That worked out pretty well. I was able to get a full BS degree in Computer Science in about 4 years of night classes and got hired into a tech support call center during that time. Found out that I still don’t like coding, but the hardware and support side of things is right up my alley (originally an engineering major for this reason) Tech support in those days might involve a little bit of remote support, but this was still well before broadband was common, so mostly it involved getting completely non-technical people to describe the problem in such a way as made sense and then talking them through the steps to fix it. It was challenging, but in the good way, not the frustrating way, so I quite enjoyed it and did very well at it. Of course, working in an IT environment like that I was surrounded by like-minded people and we all loved Star Wars, so when SWG came out they invited me to join the guild they were putting together in it.
My “main game” at the time was Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind. My wife accused me of being completely addicted to games, in spite of the fact that between working full time and going to school for 4 hours every night as well and thus not really having time to play games at all, I was lucky to get in 6 hours a week on the weekends. As a result, and the fact of the $15 a month subscription cost, I was not really thrilled with the idea, but…. STAR WARS! So I did it. And in an odd quirk of fate, my wife decided that she liked that game and got completely addicted to it, usually playing it for 16-17 hours per day (and 20-21 wasn’t unheard of either), started a cyber-affair with a guy she met in the game, and then she moved back to Illinois and we divorced. So far as I know she never even met that guy in real life either. Weird, no?
Even with that bad experience, the love of games continued. It wasn’t the game’s fault she did what she did, after all. And SWG and the big co-workers Player association where we had Ventrillo while in-game and a big group chat the next day while at work to talk about what we’d done the night before and to make plans for the next night… that got me really hooked into the social aspect of MMO’s. We wound down from playing SWG just about as EQ2 released, so most of us swapped into that game and kept a friends-and-family guild going there for a while. Since I was again single, I even got into raiding for a while, though after the divorce wound down and I started dating again my gaming time began to be more limited. Still, one lady I dated started playing EQ2 so we could “do something together” even on the nights we couldn’t physically meet. And as a result she met the guy she actually ended up marrying (he was the guild leader of the small guild I was in at the time and they got to chatting and the rest is history). Another friend from SWG who was in the guild in EQ2 also met a guy in-game that she ended up marrying, and she now works for the Gaiscioch Family. Not sure how, exactly, but it’s listed as her employer on her Facebook page, anyway. I was in Gaiscioch in Rift and in Elder Scrolls Online, so that was neat to see, even if she and I don’t really keep in touch anymore.
And I’m well into simply rambling now and I think I’m well past my 10 sentence minimum for the Blaugust requirements. The TL;DR of all this is — love games, always have. Mostly good experiences with them, though a few bad. Good far outweighs the bad though. Nerds rule! And happy gaming out there!